Sammamish’s Town Center-concurrency dilemma

By Scott Hamilton

Editor

The Sammamish City Council faces a complex set of issues interconnecting the Town Center and efforts to revise its traffic concurrency policies.

At stake is whether the Town Center proceeds per the 2009 plan adopted by the Planning Commission and City Council or, as some desire, the plan is reopened with the goal of down-sizing it.

Reopening the plan also allows the possibility of some advocating an up—zoning of the TC.

The city is under a building moratorium adopted last October. The council and staff want to lift the moratorium in July, but controversy over how to proceed with revisions for concurrency casts doubt over whether revisions may be ready by then.

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Valderrama’s hypocrisy over Hornish issue

Analysis

Ramiro Valderrama

Sammamish City Council member Ramiro Valderrama displayed hypocrisy last Tuesday in his aggressive attempt to force fellow member Tom Hornish to remain on committees following acceptance of a new job in the private sector.

Two years ago, Valderrama sought a new job in the public sector that would have had direct conflict of interest with his city council position. It would have meant choosing between his new job and the council when it came to attending meetings and committee meetings. It likely meant Valderrama would have missed the council’s annual retreat at which goals and committee assignments are made for the coming year.

Yet Valderrama vowed to retain his council position if he got the new job and brushed aside all objections from his constituents.

When Hornish stepped up and recognized time constraints were coming, resigned his position as deputy mayor and stepped off all but one committee, Valderrama—oblivious o his own actions two years earlier—objected and engaged in a transparent attempt to set Hornish up to fail and ultimately force him off the council.

Continue reading “Valderrama’s hypocrisy over Hornish issue”

Malchow for mayor, Hornish for deputy mayor

Christie Malchow
Tom Hornish

Commentary

As the Sammamish City Council prepares to transition next month to the largest makeover in a single year since incorporation, the first order of business after the swearing in of four new council members will be to select a mayor for the next two years and deputy mayor for the next year.

Christie Malchow earned selection as mayor. Tom Hornish earned selection as deputy mayor.

Both are two years in to their first, four-year term.

Their leadership and willingness to dig deeply into issues during their first two years has been nothing short of outstanding. Their honor and integrity is likewise outstanding.

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Next to Last meeting for four Council members; reception tonight

Tonight is the next to last meeting for four Sammamish City Council members, who chose to retire rather than seek reelection.

Don Gerend is the dean of the Council. He has been on the body since the first Council was elected in 1999.

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Sammamish, in surprise move, adopts a building moratorium to deal with traffic concurrency

Deputy Mayor Christie Malchow

The Sammamish City Council, in a surprise move, unanimously adopted a building moratorium for six months to make time to sort out the traffic concurrency problems that emerged in June.

The item was not on the agenda. Deputy Mayor Christie Malchow introduced the ordinance declaring an emergency to adopt the moratorium. Member Tom Odell seconded.

She said it became clear in a study session Monday night and in previous meetings that staff process was “trumping” policy.

Underlying assumptions in Table T-8 in the Comprehensive Plan can’t be addressed until the next update in a year. T-8 details traffic counts and other data.

Continue reading “Sammamish, in surprise move, adopts a building moratorium to deal with traffic concurrency”

Council returns Sept. 5 to take up traffic, concurrency

  • This is six pages when printed.
Lyman Howard. Source: Google images.

The Sammamish City Council returns Sept. 5 from its August recess with traffic and concurrency the No. 1 priority and the No. 1 item on the agenda.

City Manager Lyman Howard will present a proposal to establish a “roadmap” going forward to take a top-to-bottom look at how the City implements traffic concurrency policies and testing that are required before development can be approved.

Controversial study prompts review

The review is the outgrowth of a controversial study by a Sammamish citizen, Miki Mullor, who concluded the City Staff had manipulated data to approve development. After a de facto moratorium brought on by the 2008 Global Recession, an improving economy and capital liquidity enabled a major spurt of growth that saw wholesale tree removal and increased traffic congestion over a few years beginning about 2014.

Mullor’s study contained incendiary charges that prompted Howard to label it “inaccurate” and “deeply offensive” at the June 6 Council meeting, the day after Mullor emailed the study to the City. Howard suggested later at the same meeting that Staff would answer questions raised by the study and from the Council.

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The inside story of how traffic and concurrency became “the No. 1 issue in Sammamish:” failure, success of government

Update, July 25, 2017: The reporter for the Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter has been transferred to sister papers in the Bothell-Kenmore area.

A Special Report

This is seven pages when printed.

By Scott Hamilton

Analysis

Traffic and concurrency in Sammamish is a classic example of failure, and success, in government. It’s a glaring failure of the local newspaper.

It’s a success story of how a single citizen forced debate on an issue that even determined City Council members could not.

Here is the back-story of how traffic and concurrency became “the No. 1 priority in Sammamish.” A sequential history is necessary before we get to the punch line.

Continue reading “The inside story of how traffic and concurrency became “the No. 1 issue in Sammamish:” failure, success of government”